Clichés & Cafédral Durham

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Writing that post about Seaton Carew and ‘Classic British traditions’ recently got me thinking about some of the other things that us Brits are stereotyped to do. The main image that Americans get when they think of English people is the posh afternoon tea scene. Personally, I do love having afternoon tea. Scratch that, I just love tea but it’s in no way a posh thing and I think enjoying a nice cup of tea is something that’s underrated these days. Cake and scones are bonuses but I do adhere to the English tea party cliché, I’m not going clubbing anytime soon and my preferred catch up activity IS finding a cute café and chatting over a cup of flavoured tea.

This week I went out to Durham for a much needed catch up with one of my most treasured friends and she suggested Cafédral in the centre of the town. I was down with that because the images on Google looked bright and fresh which is a far cry away from the more ‘hipster’ scene in Durham.

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So it’s a bit of a trek up the cobbled hill and if you’re not able to walk unaided then it’s probably not the best place to visit. However, it is a great café to check out if you want to go somewhere that has a friendly and homely atmosphere to it. The best way to describe the decor is shabby chic and the staff are very welcoming, even if you’re not keen on their menu it’s a great place to stop off for a cuppa. You can get soups, paninis, scones, sandwiches and yummy treats like homemade scones and cakes so I don’t think it’s likely to leave that place starving. I would have to say that it’s preferable to the usual Starbucks or Costa stop-off, it’s a nice change and I would love to return in the near future. Another plus is that it’s great value for money, I’m sure plenty of students crush their threshold and I don’t blame them.

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Durham has never been one of my favourite places, don’t get me wrong… It’s full of charm and it does have it’s good points but I usually prefer the more gritty places for shopping etc. As I was a student in Middlesbrough I usually find it easier to seek out cool places there but I do like to check out different places from time to time. Cafédral is one of the little gems that draws me back towards Durham and I hope to discover more places like this in the near future. The staff there are a credit to the café, it’s one of the friendliest café’s I’ve been to. I would say that they best way to describe the place is to call it warm, something that franchise coffee shops lack quite a bit these days. I would love to know if you have any other places in mind, the North East is kind of underrated in that way!

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5 Lazy Girl Hacks For Long Haul Flights

Long Haul Flights

Calling all ladies new to long haul travel, you’ll thank me for this post later! When I went on my first flight over 4 hours I didn’t know any of this so if you’re reading this before hand then you’re way ahead of the curve. 10 hours is a long time to be on a plane so no matter what you do, if you fly economy class like I do then there’s going to be a certain degree of discomfort but with these tips you should at least feel prepared. I’m not going to lie, I am in no way organised and for my last trip away I packed the night before I set off and I was going for a month. Fortunately for me though, I knew exactly what to sort out when I eventually got around to doing it. With this in mind, I have titled this post ‘5 Lazy Girl Hacks For Long Haul Flights’ as I’m not going to tell you how to decant full size products into travel minis or whatever because not once have I done that and I’ve managed just fine.

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My first travel hack is to keep versatility in mind when you choose your clothes; the perfect travel outfit is essentially gym gear. I would recommend leggings, a sports bra, comfortable underwear, a vest, a hoodie and a scarf. The temperature can range between stiflingly hot to pretty damn cold, airplanes as a rule are generally cool as a result of the cabin pressure and the circulation of the air so it’s always a good idea to layer your outfit when travelling. Additionally, comfy shoes are a must so trainers with a springy sole are ideal for the simple fact that you could be waiting in long queues and on the plane you may need to take them off so easy shoes like that work really well.

Following that train of thought, pack your carry on luggage wisely. Whilst you CAN take a small suitcase on the plane, I wouldn’t advise it as you have to carry it everywhere so anything heavy is a bit of a pain and it may minimise your legroom too if it has to go under the seat in front of you. I like to pack a small backpack; an empty water bottle (there should be a drinking water tap somewhere past security), cereal bars, spare underwear, travel wet wipes, a hairbrush, mini toiletries in a clear ziplock bag and any travel documents required. It’s all you need, anything else is an excess that really isn’t needed. Seriously, you’ll regret it if you take more than that as carry on luggage.

The next thing you need to know is that depending on the airline you can choose your seat before the flight, this is a personal preference thing but really you don’t want to be sat in the middle. If you know you are going to be active a lot during the flight you should go for the aisle seat as it means you can get up and move around without waking other passengers or tripping up. To avoid sitting with children, you should stay away from the front of the plane as that’s where families are usually placed on long haul flights. If you need more leg space, chose a seat on an exit row but be prepared to help out a little if something happens onboard to require an emergency landing.

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As this post is for the travelling ‘lazy girl’, it’s only right that I should add the necessity of a travel pillow. My TOP TIP is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of getting sleep, a travel pillow is your best bet for making yourself comfortable. Switching up your sleeping pattern a little before your flight can help with this, just by a few hours per day but it does help. This will decrease your chance of getting jetlag and with the aid of the travel pillow, you should be relatively fresh by the time you land. Going back to the last tip, if you plan on sleeping for the majority you are best off choosing the window seat so you can rest your head a little better.

The final hack for long haul travel is to check to see what upgrades are available, you can typically just ask at the check-in desk. I’m fairly sure that most airlines have an air miles service or rather a loyalty system so if you fly long haul regularly, you can make the most of your flight by using your points on future journeys. This means you can enjoy extra legroom, better meals or even better entertainment. Depending on how busy the flight is, it’s sometimes possible to nab a free upgrade but either way, it’s worth asking just incase there is something available.

So those were my 5 Lazy Girl Hacks For Long Haul Travel, I hope you find these useful on your next long distance flight. Let me know if you have any hacks of your own, I’d love to learn more if you know anything else!

 

 

Seaton Carew Is The Epitome Of A Classic Brit Beach

Classic Brit Beach

Twitter is currently stating that a ‘staycation’ is the way to go this summer but where exactly can you go if you don’t want to be packed onto a beach like sardines in a tin? The general definition of a ‘staycation’ is a holiday in the country you reside in, destination in the UK that I find to be wholly underrated is Seaton Carew. I’ve written about how much I love Whitby and York but I spent a lot of my childhood going on caravan holidays across the country, not only that but my family used to be quite spontaneous about where we ended up on a weekend. The long-winded point that I’m making is that I have grown to love charming British seaside towns. I consider Seaton Carew to be a classic Brit beach because it has all of the main features of an ideal resort; amusements, rides, sea front and fresh fish and chips. It’s the kind of place that is timeless, there’s no Dominoes pizza shops or HMV – just good food and traditional attractions.

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From the beach you can see a wind farm so the horizon isn’t perfect and the place itself has a rather industrial feel to it but it really is a charming little resort town. Saying that, the beach itself is clean and the front is certainly family orientated. You can stroll the beach and pop into Larry’s Lanes for a game of bowling or possibly even check out the coin dozers after a generous helping of fish and chips. The general feel is reminiscent of the introduction of leisure activities during the Victorian Era, as such it would be a perfect bank holiday destination. On the mouth of the River Tees, Seaton Carew is a truly Northern town and it has a wealth of history and culture surrounding the place. Well worth a visit if you ask me!

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In my most recent trip to Seaton I went to Matteo’s Italian restaurant for lunch as I wanted something a little less greasy and I have to say, I was impressed. The staff couldn’t do enough to help, they were friendly and engaged with every single customer that came in. There was a delay with the food but we were told why and they explained the process of cooking the chicken so we would understand the reason. When the food finally arrived, it was worth the wait (which wasn’t very long anyway!) and I finished everything on the plate. To finish up we went out to the front to grab an ice cream sundae as seen in the photo above, I chose the Butterscotch one which was yummy – even if it broke my diet a teensy bit, I enjoyed every last scoop and I regret nothing.

I’d love to know if any of you have been there and what you thought about it, personally I love Seaton Carew and I hope people see how great this resort town is. Where do you like to go on your ‘staycations’?

Signing Up For A Nutrition Course

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Since starting a diet this year and actively trying to lose weight I have gained an interest in nutrition and the way that it impacts my body. Naturally I wanted to see if I could learn more so I have signed up for an online course with North Hertfordshire to do a Level 2 course in Nutrition. With this course as a base to build up from, hopefully then I’ll be able to share some of what I learn through my blogging as I enjoy writing about lifestyle and wellness. I’ve also looked up possible further qualifications for if I really enjoy the content, it’s something I’ve looked up before but I’ve never quite gone through with it. The truth is, I buy magazines and skip the stories to read the food inserts and the health pages so I might as well put my interest to good use.

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I officially start the course on Monday and from then I have deadlines and goals to fulfill to stay on with the college, luckily it’s not quite as structured as being at university so I can more or less do it at my own pace. I’m thinking that by knowing a lot more about the way food fuels my body I’ll have a healthier relationship with eating which, if you have read my previous diet post, you’ll know that I’ve had my fair share of struggles as of late. A great part of why people don’t really take an interest in nutrition is because cooking can be time consuming and messy but if you’re a Pinterest/Tumblr/Instagram user you can always find quicker balanced meals to make. My phone is full of recipe screenshots and food ideas so it’s difficult to use that excuse. As I’m writing this post I’m eating my frozen red grapes, a healthy summer treat idea that I found on Pinterest.

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Eating away from the home is the biggest knockback for a lot of people but I’ve found that it’s more than possible to go out and eat something other than just leaves as a ‘healthier option’. Most restaurants have calorie counts on their menus now, though, Wetherspoon’s seems to have cut back on the information they give in theirs. I find that the best thing to do is look for two options of what you WANT to eat and to choose the lesser of two evils. As I’m going on holiday soon I’ll definitely be using this advice because it’s an all inclusive resort in Tenerife and it’s easy to overeat on a holiday like that.

Thanks for reading today’s post, I hope to give you all little updates ASAP as I’m very excited to get on with this nutrition course. If it’s something you would find interesting, please let me know and I’ll get more food orientated posts up. As always, my email address is on my ‘Contact‘ page.

I Quit Uni (5 Months On)

I QUIT UNI

5 months ago I made the drastic decision to quit university, I’m writing this post now because I know I wish I could have found a post like this when I was in the consideration stage. Standard human behaviour, contemplating making a big change in my life and I turned to Google. I found that the results were lacking in a positive light, a good number of people talked about their regrets and how they decided to restart the course. Personally, my feelings have gone the complete opposite way, going back all those months ago I can remember thinking that I would feel refreshed and inspired to go on with the course after my month away in Hong Kong – SPOILER ALERT! That didn’t happen and I felt completely hopeless and I became a nervous wreck the week before my return to uni. The thing is, just before we broke up for the Christmas break I had a presentation and halfway through I broke down and cried in front of the half a dozen people in the room. I got caught up on how pointless the course was for me and how little I was actually grasping about the module content, that’s when I snapped and I knew it was over for me.

The fact is, I was spending 5 hours every night trying to understand things that everyone else understood in an hour and it was too much. I just didn’t have the same passion and motivation for the subject as everyone else and to be quite frank, it terrified me that I might have had to write a 40,000 word dissertation on a subject that I didn’t love. From then on, the anticipation of going to uni caused panic attacks and I spent every morning before meeting up with everyone just crying and convincing myself to go. My hair was falling out, I lost sleep and to me I felt like a completely different person. I broke up with someone as a result of my anxiety and I made stupid excuses but at the end of the day, you can’t be with someone if you’re not comfortable in your own skin. It was an incredibly difficult time and I didn’t want to tell everyone that I was feeling that way; it seemed like to admit it would be to tell everyone that I was weak, that I couldn’t cope.

Going through the process of quitting was almost as difficult as making the decision itself, everyone told me that I was being stupid and as mentioned earlier, Google was no help whatsoever. One particular tutor told me that I didn’t understand my feelings properly and even shared her own story but I had my mind made up and I went through the process. Once I got the email through that said I was officially no longer a student, it felt like tonnes of weight dropped off of my shoulders. As cliché as it sounds, I felt free. The one thing that did upset me, however, is the fact that I had to move away from the university where I had made friends and a semblance of a social life. The anxiety wasn’t quite over but I knew I had made the right decision, the tougher part was moving back in with my parents and living by someone else’s rules again. I had moved out two years prior to this and it took some getting used to!

Back to present time, I still don’t know how to fill my time but in the mean time I am blogging and working in my dad’s mini-market. So it’s not exactly big step towards my goals but I know I have the luxury of taking my time. I would love to get back into social media and PR, I’m just biding my time and building my blog first. I’m actively seeking opportunities but my main process is to live by me and to do what I want to rather than taking others ideas as my own and following someone else’s path. I’ve done it for as long as I have remembered and now I have no influence, I’m taking a step back and truly thinking about what makes me happy. I’m not going to lie, it really hasn’t been easy but I’m fighting to feel like me again and I do feel much more chilled out as a person.

I’ve been through hell and come through the other side so here are the 4 things you need to know before you quit uni:

  • People are going to tell you it’s a mistake; take comments on board but don’t let that scare you away from doing what’s right for you personally. You can always choose a different course or return later, there’s always a financial option (you have to speak to financial advisors before you’re allowed to complete the quitting process anyway).
  • You don’t need to justify your decision to ANYONE, it is your choice and your choice only. If you’re not willing to accept your own reasons then maybe it would be best if you stuck it out because you need to be sure. Whilst finance options are manageable, it’s something that you’re going to want to be sure about.
  • Once you have quit, you need to contact student finance to let them know about your decision. This is so you can set up a payment plan to pay off any loans that may have occurred over a half term or whatever time between the current year and the time that you quit. It’s best to stick with Student Finance rather than the alternative which is basically that they hand over your debt to a different company that will want to take back the money in a more aggressive fashion. Student finance will take anything from £10 per month and up so it’s not as bad as you would think.
  • University isn’t the be all and end all, seriously, it isn’t. Have you seen the statistics these days? Just because you graduate, doesn’t mean that you’ll get your desired job at the end. Companies want you to stand out but it is possible to get a good job without that extra tier of education, just show that you’re dedicated and you’ll be in for the running!

So that’s what I have to say on the matter, if you’re going through the process of quitting or even if you’re just thinking about it – feel free to get in touch (my email can be found here). I don’t mind talking to people through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram either if that’s easier!

An Update On My Body Progress

Body Progress

It’s been no secret that I’ve been on a diet for two months now, this post is a little update to let you all know where I’m at and some of the problems I’ve faced recently. If you want to read about the start of my journey first, I suggest you head over to this link over here. Now that I’m further on and starting to see and feel different, I thought it would be interesting to show the toughest side of dieting against the better bits. So the aforementioned ‘better bits’ are fairly obvious; I have changed shape, I have lost nearly another stone and I have felt better in my own skin, I can now run across the road without huffing and puffing, my posture has improved.

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Unfortunately, however, I have noticed a few changes that I’m not quite as happy with. My outlook on food and body image has changed because I’ve been focusing on the number on the scales and I’m hyper aware of the way food impacts my body. Primarily I saw how much I had been snacking on rubbish, I was boredom eating pre-diet and because I don’t really have a hobby I have struggled to think of something other than food. I have also been guilty of skipping meals and cutting back too much for the sake of losing another few lbs, I know that it’s unhealthy and not sustainable but it does become an obsession. This is particularly an issue because I remember cruel comments made by boys in school and I constantly point out my own flaws. Behaviour like this, admittedly I have found silly in other people and I didn’t really realise that I had started to do it until I sat back and thought about it.

I want to be at my best, I want a body as strong as it is beautiful. It’s not possible with my current outlook and I’m trying to change the way I think, honestly, I know that I need to pick myself up and set my head on straight but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Breakfast

My main goal this week has been to listen to my body and give it what it needs to be healthy. The porridge above has been my attempt at satisfying my sweet tooth and to give me a natural sugar boost for energy.  Other than that I have been taking better care of my diet by adding more protein and green vegetables. I have eaten out a few times too, one time I ordered mushroom benedict and another I ordered a chicken and rice dish with vegetables. It’s little treats like these that have really boosted me up since realising how unhealthy my attitude towards dieting has been. If anyone else has had similar problems, I’d love to get chatting to you because I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on people to be upbeat and positive about weightloss.

Affordable & Simple Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoo Aftercare

As a quick disclaimer before I start, I am not a dermatologist or a tattoo artist but I did a lot of research and asked friends and multiple artists about their top tips. Some of you may be aware that I got my first tattoo last month, for those of you that didn’t already know, I want to start off by saying that I always wanted one. I dropped it into conversations with family members (without saying that I actually wanted one) multiple times before I took the plunge. It was by through this method that I realised that I was being too worried about what everyone else would think and what I actually wanted for myself. I had a fairly firm idea of what I wanted, I was just unsure about the composition so I gave my tattoo artist relative creative freedom. My idea started as the one rose and I ended up changing my mind and getting three done instead as a bit of a tribute to my love for my siblings.

Rose tat

My tattoo is only quite small, it’s on my forearm and the closest to shading that I got was the dot work on the leaves so all in all, it was a great first tattoo. My tattoo artist, unlike many who recommend pricey products that they get commission on, told me to use very basic and natural products as to not irritate the new art. I got all of my products for less than £10 and I haven’t had any bother whatsoever. To clean it I use Sanex Zero% Sensitive Skin Shower Gel with a Ramer Baby Sponge. The shower gel I chose because it has no fragrance, parabens, colourants, phthalates or phenoxyethanol in it so I felt like it would be the most delicate of the options available. The sponge was chosen because I picked one up for a friend to make a tiny tattoo aftercare bundle for her birthday.

To moisturise my tattoo, I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Fragrance Free Body Lotion yet again, just because it’s great for sensitive skin and for healing. Also, my tattooist recommended cocoa butter as an aftercare option in the letter I was given to take home. You really shouldn’t use anything that doesn’t sink in really quickly because apparently it can create a barrier and prevent your tattoo from healing quickly. My simple method has contributed to my tattoo barely scabbing and settling down super quickly. Obviously I’m no expert but these are the items that have really helped me and I just wanted to help people like me who don’t want to spend an absolute fortune on upkeep.

Other than those three products, to take care of my first tatt, I have used the shower instead of the bath to avoid soaking it and risking any scabbing to swell and pull away the ink. I have also tried to keep it out of the sun as much as possible, this is kind of a common sense thing anyway but I have used natural sun creams to avoid sun damage but you can buy cream that’s specific to tattoos if you so desire. I hope you have found this post interesting, personally I searched the web for posts just like this one before my appointment and Google more or less drew a blank. Let me know your tips in the comments if you have any better recommendations!

Treating Myself In The VS PINK Sale

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Victoria’s Secret has been a brand that has been increasingly more present in the last few years, with bigger names performing in the fashion shows and the growth of certain social media platforms… Yeah, it’s all over the place. Until now I never actually gave it a chance as I thought is was for the ultra skinny and those willing to break the bank for some underpants. It was actually on Instagram that I found out about the VS – PINK sale and after seeing their promo for it, I decided to take a look. Constantly on the lookout for a decent sports bra, I decided to test my luck and purchase their Ultimate Racerback Sports Bra in blue and purple. I also decided to grab a couple of face masks because I’ve had a few breakouts recently; The VS PINK Chill Out with Cucumber clay mask and the Now & Zen sheet mask.

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As you can see, the sports bra fits but to be honest, it’s a pretty low impact bra that won’t support me for anything but yoga. Cardio is a no go in this one! Other than that, it seems to be quite good in quality and I do love the pattern – even if it is a bit louder than what I would usually go for. The material has a swimsuit kind of feeling with a soft mesh layer inside,  So all in all, I would give this sports bra a 6/10 but that’s mainly for the pattern and comfort. You know, 1 being topless and 10 being motionless boobs during activity.

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I have quite oily skin around my nose and cheeks but I also get quite a bit of redness so I love a good face mask, the Chill Out with Cucumber face and body mask ticked all of my imaginary boxes on paper. I did not, however, think that it was any different from the other cheaper masks that I have tried in recent years. So I cleansed my face using a cleansing balm and applied the mask straight away, after 10 minutes my face felt tight and the mask started to flake away a bit. After washing it off I decided to use the Now & Zen mask as it dried out my face quite a bit and I thought that the sheet mask would perk my skin up a bit. Guys, I think I just found my beauty hero. It was relaxing, it smelled really fresh and it left my skin feeling soft and moistured – also, my redness problem looked like… less of a problem!

So yeah, I treated myself. Self love and all of that! My first impressions of VS Pink have been hit and miss but for the most part, I’m quite liking the brand and I do feel more inclined to give them another go. Perhaps I’ll grab a new pair of pyjamas next…

 

FOMO & My Vlogging Confidence Crisis

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I have a confession to make; I get major FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when I watch Youtube vloggers. Yes, most people do but I envy Youtubers because of their boundless confidence and the fact that their job is to inspire and to influence. I have personally always wanted to start a channel of my own and recently I have felt more and more of a draw towards the platform. I know that it isn’t what it was and that I might be a little late to jump on the bandwagon but I would love to give it a go. This post is going to be about why I haven’t started a Youtube channel and my inspirations. With this being my second post that WordPress deleted and my second attempt at articulating my feelings, I really hope that this post doesn’t come across as tired or lacklustre. I did write more or less a full speech about inspiration and working with an anxious personality but hey… let’s give this thing another shot!

So vlogging and getting into Youtube has always been a goal for me but I never seem to get around to doing it. Honestly, I make excuse after excuse… I can’t afford a camera… I’m not comfortable in front of the camera… Yeah, weak excuses at best but I’ve used them both and more to procrastinate and put off doing it which is ridiculous because it’s something that I actually WANT to do. I love that the internet is full of personality and creativity, unfortunately there has been a bit of a dark cloud over the community so it’s difficult to know when to attempt a breakthrough. I know I’m a bit late to the bandwagon but I know that I would enjoy creating such content, I take a lot of inspiration from a single website at the moment.

Recently I have watched a lot of videos from Refinery29, a cutting edge website all about female empowerment and inspiring young women. Personally, I feel like the website does this for me and as such I have started to watch their channel avidly. I really believe in the message that they put out and each and every one of their influencers are super talented and you can tell that they believe in what they are saying. Their honest approach to their topics is refreshing and I don’t think that any of it is just a job to them, it’s a genuine interest. I’ve taken a particular liking to the series “Try Living With Lucie”, a series run by Lucie Fink (this woman has my dream job!). The series features 5 day challenges based around lifestyle and they different ways in which people can enrich their lives.

Whilst I still have no immediate plans to start a channel, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter. I still think vlogging is in my future, I just don’t know how to go about it in a low budget way. As always, your input is always more than welcome!

 

Yo!Sushi For Non Sushi Lovers

Yo!Sushi

I need to start by saying this is my fourth attempt at writing this post because WordPress keeps deleting my finished post. Note to self: Save posts as a word document first to avoid general huffyness and mild temper tantrums!

So anyway, rant over!

Recently I paid a visit to Yo!Sushi with a friend and whilst I was sceptical, I did want to try something a little different. I’m a very picky eater and now that I’m taking care of my body and eating healthily I am struggling to find things to eat when I’m out and about. The North East isn’t exactly a hub for healthy eating and with such a lack of more exciting options for dieters – mostly I have to stick to salads and the like. Give me one more Caesar salad, I dare you! Okay, so I didn’t pick any of the more risky otions for my first time at Yo!Sushi but I did enjoy what I ordered. I chose the Katsu Chicken Curry, something that I had heard of but I just didn’t bother trying. I also tried some Avocado Maki but I’m not the biggest fan of Avocado so it didn’t particularly please me but hey, it was something new.

KATSU

The katsu curry itself was actually one of my favourite meals out this year, I genuinely really enjoyed it. I felt satisfied after finishing and even struggled to finish my main dish so the small portions are not a problem, even if they were, the price makes up for it! Another thing that I quite liked about the place is that for those of us counting calories, the menu says the calorie content and what’s actually in the dishes. The website includes the menu and such information here. I think that for those of us who are a little more concerned about food contents it can be daunting to try out a foreign inspired food place, personally, I always avoided Yo!Sushi for that reason. I just thought about raw fish and seaweed and I shut down towards the place, I’m now slightly annoyed that I did because I fully recommend that you all give it a go.

If you want to know more about the food chain itself I would check out this link as it describes the restaurant a bit better than I do. So katsu curry isn’t the most adventurous of choices but it’s an option on the menu that caters towards awkward people like me. Let me know what you think or if you have any healthy food options for eating out of the house because I’m sick of omelettes and salads!